Petit Le Mans: Herbert and Lehto win for Champion Audi team

JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert scored a dominant eight-lap win at Road Atlanta, leading nearly all of the 1,000-mile American Le Mans Series race in the Champion Racing Audi R8. But Frank Biela and Marco Werner won the LMP 900 driving championship by finishing third overall for Joest

Petit Le Mans: Herbert and Lehto win for Champion Audi team

Lehto started third in the Champion car but took the lead on the first lap of the race. After racing hard with the Infineon Team Joest Audi of Biela and Werner in the early going, Lehto and Herbert were able to cruise after most of their strongest competitors experienced problems.

"It was a nice, nice race for us," said Lehto, who lost Petit Le Mans in 1999 in the waning stages when his co-driver spun out. "I've been trying for a long time to win this one and it's great to finally get it."

The Joest Audi's charge after early delays (following a Biela mistake) was halted when Marco Werner threw the car into the gravel. Although they got going again, the team had to settle for the bottom podium spot a lap behind the top Panoz of David Saelens, Olivier Beretta and Max Papis.

Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and Larry Connor won the LMP 675 class in the Intersport Racing Lola EX257-Judd, while Chris Dyson, Didier de Radigues and Chad Block finished second. Dyson clinched the P675 class driving championship.

GTS class honors went to the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello of Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Alain Menu, while finishing second was another Prodrive Ferrari driven by Jan Magnussen, David Brabham and Anthony Davidson. The two team cars battled strongly for most of the race and finished 1.053sec apart.

"We'd like to have won more races and the ALMS championship, but we won Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans this year, so it was successful," said Kox. "Driving all year with Tomas has been a pleasure."

Finishing third in class was the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R of Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim. Chevrolet entered the race needing a minimum finish of third to clinch its third straight GTS class Manufacturer's title.

Winning the GT class was the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Jorg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, which dominated most of the event despite being involved in an early crash. The other Job car of Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen finished second, the two drivers having already clinched the GT class driving championship.

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